Episode Twenty-Two: Melee: Scene 17

We met in the large open atrium of the MLK library. It struck me as a slight waste of space, but there were still plenty of stacks. Quietly, we headed up to local history.

“Munin showed up and told me he can only talk about what went before. So…”


“We’re looking for anything that might indicate this happened before.” Which might not help us stop it, but Munin’s implication had been clear.

“Oh! I know where to look.” She sprung up the stairs, enthusiastic at the idea of doing some actual research for a change. I grinned and followed her.

“They still have some of the older stuff on microfiche, but not all of it. Old issues of the Washington Post. But…”

She moved to a terminal. “They also have a proper search system these days.”

“Good, because I’m not sure I have time to go through everything,” I quipped.

“We don’t, but we’re looking for riots or other incidents on the Mall. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them. Protests, you know.”

There was a reason the DC cops’ best competency was crowd control. They had a lot of practice. An average summer day pretty much needed it, let alone an actual protest.

Marching on the White House – a grand American tradition.

She started messing with the terminal. I looked at the cases of microfiche newspapers. They stopped a few years ago.

I had a feeling we were looking further back than that. I went over to one of the readers, realizing I didn’t really know how to use them. Well, hopefully Kanesha did and could show me. It couldn’t be that hard, not compared to a computer.

“Okay…find me these.” She started to rattle off dates and I moved to grab the stuff. Her enthusiasm was almost catching.

Almost. I’d still rather be doing stuff other than research, but realistically she did need my help with this. If there wasn’t anything, well…

If there wasn’t anything then we hadn’t wasted more than a bit of time.

“Could this be it?” I said eventually. “1932, a bunch of veterans marched on the capital to demand their bonus for World War I service then, rather than in 1945. The army cleared them out. Lots of fire.”

“Could be… Could also be the race riots in 1968.”

I went to read over her shoulder. “Attitudes have changed, haven’t they.”

“Not as much as all that. They blamed us for Baltimore in just the same way.” She frowned. “But these are big things. I don’t think it would be a big thing.”

“Neither of them feels like Loki was involved, either.” A pause. “How about this one? 1919, somebody spreading…”

“I don’t think we’re looking for a racial incident.” She frowned. “Okay…here. Found something in 1976.”

I looked over her shoulder again. “Gang brawl?”

“Yeah, but…they weren’t able to identify the combatants. I think we found it.”

The question was whether we could learn from it.

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